I may have just recently stepped off the aeroplane from sunny Rhodes, but I’m already dreaming of another getaway. However, I’m fully aware another holiday would be super greedy, especially when I’m trying to save up again after buying my house. So in my latest bid to try and source a form of getaway, I’m currently looking into heading off somewhere a little closer to home – perhaps a road trip?
I got the bulk of my road trip getaway inspiration from a super cool interactive road trip guide to Route 66 in America – which yes, I know is a little too far away. The guide takes you on a virtual trip through all the sights, signs and scenery you would typically pass along the way down route 66, and it may me think that I don’t travel enough around my own country – the UK.
A couple of months back I did embark on a mini road trip to the Lake District, which is a good 2 and a half hour journey from where I live. OK so it’s nothing in comparison to the long winding roads of America, but it was definitely a trip and a half, and something I’d love to follow up later this year.
So in true Emma style, I’ve put together a little round up of tips, inspirations and all sorts surrounding my thoughts on road tripping, and what to consider if you’re planning one too!
1. Plan the time of your drive
The reason I say this is because if you plan your travelling times right, you could catch some stunning sights along the way that you wouldn’t see otherwise. Take for example, when myself and some friends went on a road trip to the Blue Mountains in Australia, we decided to wait until a certain time to leave the following afternoon, so that we passed a particular area set in the mountains, we would catch the most beautiful sunset. Seeing the golden orange sun sinking into the ginormous mountains at dusk was a sight i’ll remember forever, and really made the road trip home enjoyable. Have a good think about your destination, and if it’s worth setting off around sunrise or sunset to catch some beautiful scenes.
2. Choose a place with lovely ‘stop offs’.
When I recently visited the Lake District, we first pulled up at a smaller part of the town for a little break before reaching our destination. I researched heavily about the route I would take and which way I would drive in, which lead me to find a lovely little walk uphill called Ornest Head. At the summit of Ornest Head, it gives breath-taking views across the entire Lake Windermere and surrounding mountains. We stayed at the top of the mountain for a good half an hour, taking in the surroundings. Once we had completed the walk, we set off to our destination feeling like we had gained another little tourist attraction on the way! So before you set off anywhere; research, research, research!
3. Pack a picnic
Road trips can be long – much longer than you originally plan. You never know what traffic problems you are going to hit, and god forbid, if you break down and have extreme delays. Come prepared by putting together a travel inspired ‘car picnic’, in case you don’t pass any service stations or just get hungry in general! Liven it up a little with a touch of travel novelty – I’ll always bring my new camera lense cup which is pictured above. It’s literally brilliant! I just recently got this, and I’ll be saving this for keeping my coffee warm and getting my caffeine kick along the way.
It’s also handy to pack the usual car journey essentials: a bag of sweets, a bottle of water, a sandwich, and a few other bags of treats to pick at to keep yourself entertained.
4. Bring a travel book
So this one only works if you are a passenger, but it’s a good one all the same. Long road trips (or flights, if you chose to go abroad instead) can be a huge pain and a drag for the passenger, so make sure you pack a good book to get lost in. For me personally, I always choose motivational and inspirational books, which get me thinking, or give me a chance to reflect. When I’m travelling I just feel it’s the perfect time to think about myself and my life, and reading a bit of a ‘deep’ book always goes down better during these moments.
The book I have recently been reading is one I would recommend, called ‘Emotional Resilience’, by Geetu Bharwaney. The aim of the book is to discover knowing what it takes to be agile, adaptable, and to perform at your best. Before I started to read this, the book explained that it touched on developing your emotional resilience so that you can be bulletproof, and to prepare yourself against even the most challenging situations. It aims to let you focus fully on achieving your goals, getting things done, moving ahead and being the best you can be. I’m always looking for ways to be my best self, and as an ambitious yet emotional person, I always like to seek a little help with developing these areas of my life. I guess it’s more about how our minds work and how to train ourselves to be resilient to any bad news, life knocks and all sorts of negative situations.
I found the book empowering from the first few chapters, as it talks you through the best ways to handle your emotions, thoughts and actions. I’m guilty of being a person that can focus too much on the things I can’t do, rather than the things I do well at, which can lead me to negative emotions, which can ruin my mood. These are the types of feelings that can come across as lacking confidence and positivity, which is never attractive to your boss, colleagues, friends or family.
It really is a powerful book that is teaching me how to quickly adapt to tricky and pressured situations and get the best from them. Through tips and guidance, the book talks to you in a friendly and understanding manner about how to be at your best all the time, handling everyday demands with dignity and pride· The end goal of the book is for you to realise your full potential – whether on your own or with others. I’m not quite there yet, but I’m getting there!
5. Think about your feet
More of a fashion focused bit of advice is to think about your feet, which I know is something we don’t consider straight away when we think of travelling. Sometimes, it’s best for me to wear my heaviest shoes, especially when I’m flying anywhere, or as a car passenger. Because of any stop-offs or times you may want to stretch your legs, prepare your feet by inserting a form of an insole – one which will take the pressure off the balls/heels of your feet, especially when sitting down for long periods of time in heels. I recently started inserting the Nine To Five Heel Insoles, which give instant relief from any burning pain I get from wearing heels. They have a slightly sticky texture so that the insoles won’t slip around or move, plus come with a light peppermint scent to keep your feet (and shoes!) fresh and fragranced.
I’ve started to keep these in my bag for other non-travel related occasions too, such as going from desk-to-drinks after work, or on a night out. This particular pair are slim and shaped to your foot shape, making them discreet enough even when wearing strappy sandals. A pair of insoles from Nine To Five cost a fantastic £5.95 – a bargain in my opinion for saving my poor little feet!
5. A confident driver
Possibly one of the most essential points to consider when planning a road trip is to make sure the designated driver is a confident one. I for one don’t usually nominate myself, and it’s not because I’d say I was a bad driver, but I genuinely don’t really enjoy driving around unfamiliar roads, or areas I’m a bit unsure of. I think it comes down to the fact I never had to do a lot of driving once I passed my driving test – I spent the best part of 7 years driving half an hour maximum to work, which was the furthest I would drive myself really. If I was every planning any long distance trips, someone else would usually rush to the drivers seat, meaning I never really opted for the role. I like to think that although I don’t anchor after being the one in the drivers seat, I took great care when it came to passing my test, making a number of errors throughout my test and re-sitting until I felt confident and knowledgeable to be good driver.
Learning to drive is by far one of the best things I learnt to do, as it opens up room for freedom and independence. If I didn’t drive, I wouldn’t have the job that I have today, as it’s impossible to get to any other way apart from motorways. If you’re a non-driver but considering learning, think about the opportunities and choices it can give you. Take a look at Pass N Go for a little more information if you need some encouragement…
6. Pack some games!
And last but not least – don’t forget the games! You need something to keep you entertained during the long drive (or other form of travel), especially if there is a group of you. Trivia cards, a pack of playing cards, dice games or anything easy to carry in your handbag make fun little games. Trivia ones are usually the best, as it means the driver can take part too, without having to take their eyes off the road!